Black Friday Protests—A Walmart Tradition

Retailers who opened at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day are already asking employees to leave their family and holiday festivities to man the doors and battle stations on what has become “Gray Thursday” leading into the infamous Black Friday. Some retailer won’t pay their employees a livable wage. That is the subject of the largest Black Friday protests against retail giant Walmart.

With protests planned for 1,600 stores in 49 states, Walmart strikers are demanding higher wages and less reliance on government aid to get by. One store in Oklahoma City set up a canned food drive outside their doors to help feed underpaid associates. Something seems off about that picture.

If you go to one of the 1,600 out of 4,000 stores with picket lines, you will be greeted with leaflets and picket signs that read: “Walmart: Stop Bullying, Stop Firing, Start Paying” and “We’re Drawing a Line at the Poverty Line: $25,000.”

Fatmata Jabbie, a single mother in Virginia, earns $8.40 per hour, and works just under Walmart’s mandated 30 hours for health care. She and her children survive on food stamps, low income housing, and government provided healthcare. She, along with other protestors in Alexandria, Virginia, are calling for a $15 per hour wage and full time employment.

Walmart is the country’s largest retailer, employing approximately 1.4 million people. OUR Walmart (Organization for Respect at Walmart) began in 2011 and has used a systematic public relations campaign to publicly shame the company for its rule bending ways.

Some strikers began their protest before Thanksgiving began, walking off their shifts. Several employees and community members are participating in a 24 hours fast to protest the “poverty wages” that Walmart pays. Some strikers stood in the store, in front of products, their lips duct taped shut.

Source: Business Week & Mother Jones

Image Source: Twitter (image from Walmart in Long Beach, CA)